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Review: Srikanth

Rajkummar Rao saves this film from mediocrity

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

This week’s Hindi release Srikanth is a biographical film on the life of Srikanth Bolla, a visually impaired industrialist and founder of Bollant Industries. Directed by Tushar Hiranandani, it stars Rajkummar Rao in the eponymous role with Jyotika, Alaya F and Sharad Kelkar playing the key supporting characters.

AT A GLANCE:

Film: Srikanth

Duration: 134 minutes

Director: Tushar Hiranandani

Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Jyothika, Alaya F and Sharad Kelkar

Cinematography: Pratham Mehtaa

Music: Tanishq Bagchi, Anand Milind

Rating: ***

The film chronicles the struggles of Srikanth right from his childhood and tells us a true story that is truly inspiring. It is an extraordinary narrative of perseverance and achievement, from Srikanth’s 98 per cent in school to his getting selected as the first visually impaired international student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after being denied entry into the IITs.

For Srikanth and his poor parents, life is challenging. His father (Srinivas Beesetty) has a dream and names him after his favourite cricketer, Krishnamachari Srikkanth. His joy knows no bounds at the time of his son’s (Arnav Abdagire) birth, but it is shortlived when he comes to know that his child has a visual impairment.

Soon, he realises his son’s talent for learning, an ability that makes Srikanth stand out in his class. However, he is isolated from the rest of the children in the neighbourhood who call him names because of his disability.

The young student confronts many hurdles along the journey of his education. The first one appears when his school denies him admission in the science stream. Nevertheless, he makes a mark at MIT’s Sloan School of Management where he stands out as one of the brightest students of his class. He comes back to India in 2012 to create job opportunities for other visually impaired young people like him. He starts a groundbreaking enterprise that provides employment to unskilled and differently-abled individuals to create eco-friendly products.

Rajkummar Rao as Srikanth Bolla is unbelievably convincing. His performance is understated, with his gestures and expressions achieving a masterful sense of realism. However, this was often undermined by the director’s decision to have the camera capture every twitch of his eyebrow and facial expression, thus creating a sense of superficiality. As a result, one pays more attention to Rao, the actor, and not to the character.

Jyotika as his teacher Devki, is good too. Sharad Kelkar as Ravi Manthi an industrialist friend who is more than a do-gooder also has an impressive presence.

An ’80s hit Papa Kehte Hain by Anand Milind from the Aamir Khan film Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, is used as a recurring theme throughout, and although it doesn’t really encapsulate the lead player’s life mission, it succeeds in evoking a sense of nostalgia in viewers. Pratham Mehta’s camerawork is competently handled.

Overall, Tushar Hiranandani, whose earlier works as director were Saand Ki Aankh and Scam 2023 on OTT platforms, has created a biopic which rather than focusing on the motivational and uplifting story of Srikanth, seeks to instead place its actor, Rajkummar Rao, on a pedestal.

READ MORE: Review: Mr & Mrs Mahi

 

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